Sometimes I think these stories of primitive religious horrors are even worse than the ones that come from established semi-modern religions. Yes, the more modern religious believers ought to know better, but the people who fall into these primitive religious beliefs have something more primal, something they just feel inside that reason has nothing whatsoever to do with.
A 12-year old boy tells the story of his mother, Thembekile Ngubane, being forced to drink gasoline and being lit on fire because two men, Thula Dlula and Mzuyanda Mntabo, believed she was a witch. This happened in South Africa three years ago, while the young boy was forced to watch his mother be murdered because of primitive religious beliefs. And this wasn’t just two misguided men with bizarre beliefs, the whole community was against her. One mother accused Ngubane of shaving her son’s eyebrows and using children’s hair for magical rituals. She was even attacked with a hammer, had stones thrown at her and was ordered to leave town prior to the attack that ended her life.
This is an entire society with massive problems. They are people who are so far beneath rationality that the hopes that they will ever achieve it are slim to none. Whereas most children in the western world realize pretty early on that witchcraft and magic are ridiculous fantasy, there are lots of areas in Africa and Asia where people never get the message. And, of course, where people just don’t know any better, religious horrors occur. It isn’t just people who mistakenly think that witches exist, it’s people who think they are witches and perform magic ceremonies on others, sometimes requiring human sacrifices and human body parts to perform. Some of the earliest stories I did in this incarnation of the Religious Horror Show were about albino children being murdered for their organs in magic ceremonies. When these kind of religious beliefs are allowed to exist, people die.
But that’s really what we’ve come to expect on Horror Show Wednesday, isn’t it?